The garden was founded in 1937 by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society, a group of Phoenix residents who wanted to save and promote desert plants. One third of the plants in the garden are native to the area, the rest are native to deserts in the Americas and around the world. We visited at a good time - so many of the cacti and other desert plants are in bloom!
The garden is very accessible. The trails are either paved or hard packed sandy dirt. The Sonoran Desert Loop Trail is paved but steep. Most of the other trails are fairly level. The layout of the garden is easy to follow with all of the themed loops branching off of the main loop.